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This is part two continuing my fascinating conversation with Jenny Wordsworth and concluding the Antarctic story which came to a sudden end when she had been Medivaced and received treatment which ultimately saved her life. See Podcast No 489.
We talk of training and commitment where Jenny quite rightly states that she doesn’t see it as sacrifice, more the ability to make time for the things in life you are passionate about. Which is an interesting way of looking at it. However she also explains how much commitment it took and that her social life and friends all felt that to see her or spend time with her, they too would have to pull a tyre around Hampstead Heath on cold wet, windy days.
Her approach to the sled and the contents will not come as a surprise to many outdoors folk who follow a ‘lighter ethos’ when it comes to gear. Many of us who do this evaluate the item concerned for its features and the parts which have use to us, and therefore the cutting off and stripping down of extraneous parts becomes natural.
As Jenny had considerable experience of doing this, especially during her Ultra Marathon events it seemed perfectly natural to use the same approach when it came to her sled and its contents.
It won’t therefore surprise you to hear that her basic living clothings and camping equipment we stripped right back and there was very little in the way of clean clothes, just the layers she wore for the duration. There was some modification to the MSR stove she took which increased efficiency and everything else had to justify its place in her kit. As a result the total weight instead of being the traditional 110kg+ became a much more manageable and speedy 72kg.
Every item has to be assessed and calculated. For example, do you know which Toilet Roll is the lightest and how many sheets you might need for a trip to the Antarctic?
The conversation continues into the subject of adventure racing and running around the world. Once again Jenny has some fascinating insights and stories into the simple challenges of running in countries where it is illegal for females to run in public and how she was involved in changing the law to allow this in Iran.
Although having said that, the race she refers to did involve her running in a desert during and incredible 66C heat with ice blocks under her hat!
Ultimately Jenny appears to be the only person who views the Antarctic experience as a failure. How a medical freak event can be classed as a failure I’m not sure. Most people would have given up long before they pulled their first tyre on a wet cold day on Hampstead Heath I’m sure. However anyone who hears this will feel assured that she will certainly return to try again and with this experience under her belt I personally think she will smash the speed record to pieces given half the chance.